I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between the Girl in the Corset and the Clockwork Angel. Both are steampunk, Victorian London, mysteries involving machines and a villian, a boy-and-a-girl (maybe) story… but, as much as I adored Cassandra Clare’s City series (although she should have stopped with the third, because the fourth… ah… not so good as the first three) her first in the Clockwork series was just ok. So, the win goes to the Girl in the Corset. I think we have a great cast of characters and something to look forward to with this series. Much more so then what ever will come next in Clockwork Prince. I don’t know what the title of the Corset #2 will be, but I am looking forward to seeing more of Finley and Griff, Sam and Emily, and of course, Jasper!
Corset was good, but it wasn’t exactly the cast of characters that I expected. I figured we wold see more of her current employer (see my page on the prequel and the “Things to Remember…” category), and I knew we would see something of the Duke, but it turns out I had my expectations (which were based on the prequel) a little backwards. And I am glad. I like the crew that that forms in this book.
For those who have read the prequel, it’s worth getting it (and when I got it, it was free from Amazon). For those that haven’t – Finley is different from other girls, she’s stronger, and she has a dark side. Sometimes the dark side takes over. But usually, that’s only when she feels threatened. She is employed as a maid, but when the son in the house who has a reputation for hurting the girls who work in the house tries to take advantage of Finley, she defends herself. She runs away knowing that her self-defense against someone of a higher class won’t go over well. She is rescued by Griffin. Emily isn’t sure what to think about her, Sam doesn’t trust her, but Griff gives her the benefit of the doubt. Meanwhile, Sam, Emily and Griffin are trying to solve a mystery – why the Machinist is stealing thinks like the Queen’s wax statute and her hairbrush.
The long and short of it is that the group needs to save the day from the Machinist and his evil automatons who have seemed to run amok (or at least afoul of their programming). And they do. And they become a group in the meantime. Finley becomes part of the close knit group, Sam starts to see the light and makes things right with Emily and Jasper is taken off to America, where I expect the next book will take place.
If you like steampunk, this is a good book to pick up. And if you are new to it, this is still a good book to pick up. We get action, adventure, references to other literature (I love it when books claim to explain where other works of fiction come from – here we are told that Finley’s dad is the inspiration for Jekyll and Hyde). There was just enough reality interlaced with the steampunk that it was fun to imagine the setting. References to a journey to the center of the earth gave us great things to imagine and room for so much more to come later.
The relationships between our main characters, and how those relationship grow and develop (especially between Finley and Emily and Emily and Sam) is satisfying and fun to read. Sam’s reaction to learning about his heart felt real and his turning to someone else, outside the group also felt natural. It was an interesting story and the plot, with the Organites and replacing Victoria was interesting and unique. What was a little missing from the character development and relationship front was a little more time spent b Finley and Griff together. We get the sense of a budding relationship (and potentially a love triangle with Jack Dandy), but we get very very little of where these feelings come from. I would have like to see more.
There were a few minor inconsistencies that troubled me a little – but I mean just a little – Finley made friends with Phoebe, in her mind genuinely as far as the prequel tells us, but she again here tells us that she’s never really had a friend. And there seems to have been a timing issue as far as how many jobs she’s had recently (at least as far as I could piece it together). But those inconsistencies were small and can be overlooked. Especially since the rest of the story was so much fun.
I loved where the title came from – the steel corset that Emily made for Finley. There were so many great gadgets, and the way current technology was retro-fitted into steampunk creations was creative and interesting. The descriptions were vivid but not overpowering. I love it when I read and see the movie of what I am reading in my head – and the author gave me enough for those pictures to form, without the scenery being overburdensome so as to distract from the characters or the story. The bad guy who’s maybe not really such a bad guy (criminal activity notwithstanding) was an interesting character too – hope we see him again. The machines and gadgets were fun to imagine too. I am looking forward to the groups trip to America – and Finley and Griff’s walk in the park there!